Blog Response to Aidan Mack: Racism and White Privilege

Ending racism in the Deaf community is a goal many people share. We at ASC would like to take a moment to respond to Aidan Mack’s vlog, “Calling on Deaf People of Color“, by addressing the topic of how white people can most effectively work to understand and end racism.

Deaf People Telling Stories: As psychotherapists who listen to people’s stories every day, our radar is especially attuned to the subtle conditions that must be in place before many people will venture to share their deepest thoughts and feelings. As white people, we wonder how Deaf people of color feel about being asked by white Deaf people to tell their stories of racism.

How many Deaf people of color trust their stories and feelings to white Deaf people? Do Deaf people of color appreciate being told that white Deaf people want to empower and help them?

Perhaps some Deaf people of color do want an invitation to come forward and share their stories with white Deaf people. Some, however, may not.

Looking Inside Ourselves — Our White Privilege: It’s quite possible that some Deaf people of color are tired of pointing out racism to white Deaf people, just like some Deaf people are tired of pointing out audism to hearing people. In the same way that Deaf people often wish hearing people would examine their own audist beliefs and attitudes, so might some Deaf people of color wish that white Deaf people would take a closer look at their white privilege and racist beliefs and attitudes.

Instead of expecting Deaf people of color to jump up and share their stories with us, and going, “oh well, we tried”, if they choose not to, perhaps white Deaf people may do better to make a conscious effort to become more aware of our own racism and the subtle, and not-so-subtle, ways we reveal it everyday.

What do we understand about white privilege? How often do we think about the advantages we have because of our skin color? How many of us think “reverse racism” if we lose out on a job to a Deaf person of color or question a Deaf person of color’s qualifications for a job?

These are all questions we would do well to spend time considering. Not until we truly recognize how white privilege benefits us, will we ever begin to “get” what racism is all about.


Baer, A. (2007, October 15). The stark difference between being self empowered and being empowered. Anne Marie’s metaASL. Retrieved October 15, 2007, from http://annemarieasl.tumblr.com/post/15740078

Duchesneau, S. M. & McCullough, C. A. (2006, June 19). Majority privileges. ASC on the Couch. Retrieved October 16, 2007), from http://www.ascdeaf.com/blog/?p=53

Mack, A. (2007, October 11). Calling on Deaf people of color. Deaf Cinematic Flimblog. Retrieved October 11, 2007, from http://deaffilmblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/calling-on-deaf-people-of-color.html

Mutti, S. F. (2007, October 15). Deaf leaders adopt zero tolerance for racism. DeafDC.com Blog. Retrieved October 15, 2007, from http://www.deafdc.com/blog/?p=1089

  1. deafk October 16, 2007

    Hey, I like the idea of reference from blogs & vlogs… That is something I was struggling with lately, smile 😀

    BTW, you have a very good point about Deaf people of Color not willing to confirm every racism to us, like we do to hearies for audism. Thanks.


  2. Sallie Mae October 17, 2007

    Hello! I love your new blog and it’s neat! Thank for add Aidan to your blog about racism. WOW, it’s very powerful and I am so glad that she bring it up. Racism need to be stopped! I went to all white shool in Staunton,VA and Gally in 1970’s, I faced racism but I made them forget my color if u know what I mean. Then when I left Gally in 1982 and have not return until 2005 for which I was a student there. I was shocked to discover that racism at Gally still exist. It was so sad, but thank to Aidan…I sure hope her vlog will give deaf community “WAKE UP” call.
    Keep up…well job done

  3. IamMine October 17, 2007

    I agree with deafk – I love the references! I’ve been doing that forever with school and I hate it, making sure I follow the APA format and making sure to cite them properly in the writing as well.

    But yours made me smile! Deaf references! Nice empowerment there, ASC!

    I talked to a good friend of mine who is Black and Deaf and she wants to set up a v/blog focused on Black/Deaf and I offered to help. She’s been a powerful role in my life and it is my hope she can spread that online, as well as in person! 🙂

    I hope it will be soon so she can add it to DeafRead and abroad, to educate and address issues that we all can be aware of and learn from.

  4. ASL Risen October 17, 2007


    I would like to share my 2 video clips that can be simular or related to some Deaf children/adults who have other disabilities, too! I had seen some Deaf did insulted and labeled other Deaf children who have disabilities, too. I was heartbroken to see that..

    Well I want to bring up Deaf Motherhood role from my 2 video links:

    Part 1 of 2 (copy and paste): http://asl.deafvideo.tv/watch/3240

    Part 2 of 2 (copy and paste): http://asl.deafvideo.tv/watch/3241

    Thanks for your bringing up very NICE EMPOWERMENT to help us educating how to end the racism in the Deaf community. Thank you.

  5. ASC October 17, 2007

    Deafk and IamMine: Glad you like the references – we hope more people start
    using them in DeafRead…it’s a nice way to recognize the work of other
    vloggers and bloggers. We couldn’t get the references to follow APA-style
    100% because we couldn’t figure out how to indent the lines after the first
    line. Tried spaces, but that just messed up the whole post. If anyone
    knows how to do the indents for references in wordpress, please send us

    Sallie Mae: Good to see you online. It takes a long time to change
    people’s thinking about racism.

    Aidan: It’s great to see you so passionate about understanding and fighting
    racism. Interesting that you mentioned feeling like you experienced racism
    yourself…you may want to read this article, “Confronting White Privilege”,
    about a white teacher who at first thought she was experiencing reverse
    racism when she didn’t get a job, but later came to understand that that was
    not actually what happened:
    (see paragraphs 15-18 in particular).

    Having friends who will share their stories with you is wonderful and they
    obviously trust you. For white people to tell people of color to share
    their stories with us, is another thing though. It doesn’t seem it is our
    place to tell Deaf people of color what to do or for us to say we want to
    empower them. Do Deaf people of color really need us to empower them? Do
    Deaf people need hearing people to empower us? We’re concerned that that
    approach may come across, however well-intended, as assuming that Deaf
    people of color are not already empowered or can’t become empowered without
    our “help”. Just wondering how it’s going to be interpreted from the other

  6. ASC October 17, 2007

    IamMine: Great! Hope you can help your friend who is Black and Deaf set up a
    v/blog focused on Black/Deaf issues. We need more diversity at DeafRead!

  7. Deaf Socrate's Trail October 17, 2007

    Racism is caused by eoconomic justices! It is very hard fact that racism, audism, sexism, and homophobia or other things we live with! I can understand in our deep root cultures. Freedom of opinion often allow to do anything but no control. It is very human nature at sametime we can learn how to say without having any racism or audism, I often deal with bias in our minds we all people have that bias. The book is called “The Nature of PREJUDICE” explain a lot of why, how and what many things have a lot of information dealing with the deep root of discrimination. I think it is very good one!

  8. anonymous October 17, 2007

    What I feel great bothersome by this issue is that this deaf lady who never name any Asian like me. Why does this lady concern on the black and Hispanic races only?
    Also, I do not believe that the main concern on her issue is to relate with any racial discrimination in the deaf community. What I believe is to focus on individual’s attitude and their treating each other or one another. Therefore, her blog is (bleep)!

  9. White Ghost October 17, 2007


    Exposure can be painful. Sentiment which is a part of the heredity that teach people to hate or love the color of people. That is something we have fought and taught for our country to be treated equally and fairly.

    Unfortunately, the press and media can be the one who blamed.

    White Ghost

  10. Rosa Lee October 17, 2007


    I’m *so* glad that we have people out there who think like you do. When I first read Adian’s blog entry about calling Deaf People of Color to speak up… it made me cringe. Don’t get me wrong, I know that most people like Adian come with good intentions but your article hits the spot. We must first know our place before making a place for others. Thank you.

    -Rosa Lee

  11. ASC October 17, 2007

    Anonymous: We’re not sure if you are talking about ASC’s blog above or
    Aidan’s vlog. In our blog we used the term “people of color”, by which we
    mean all non-white people, including Asian people. This is what some of our
    racial minority friends and colleagues suggested we use.

    As an Asian person do you prefer another way to identify Asian, African
    American, Hispanic, etc. people? Do you prefer we say “non-white people”?
    We’re not really comfortable with that term because it is like saying
    non-hearing people and sounds like it assumes the white race is the standard
    by which other races are measured, but we may be wrong. We would like to hear your thoughts.

  12. Natty October 17, 2007

    In this age it seems rather impossible for the media to shock our unimpressionable minds, much so for films, far less for television.
    Last night at about 1.30 AM, I was watching BBC 1 when ‘Miss deaf world 2007’ came on. I decided to watch it, few minutes into it I was so shocked I couldn’t move from my sit and my unblinking eyes remained fixated to the screen even after the credits finished rolling.
    At first we were shown segregation amongst the group which common to all coloured people in the West, from school houses to work places. I didn’t think much of it but what shocked me were the racists comments. At first one of them said ‘They (the Africans) smell’ I thought ‘Well, give her the benefit of doubt, she’s only ignorant’ but the bullet that hit me right in the temple was when one of them said “They look like moneys” I thought “What!” I know theses sentiments are not uncommon but to be as goosy as to reveal it on camera in 2007 speaks unspeakable volumes.

  13. Sallie Mae October 17, 2007

    ASC,yes u are right about take long time to change people’s thinking about racism but what happened to MLK “I have Dream…” I wonder when will this really happen? I sure hope it will happen before I leave this planet……It would definitely be GREAT!

  14. ASC October 17, 2007

    ASL Risen: Thank you for sharing your video clips. We can imagine how frustrating it was to experience discrimination and prejudice when your deaf and hearing children were treated unfairly by others.

    Deaf Socrate’s Trail: We agree that economic injustice is one of many things that contributes to racism. Thanks for recommending the book, “The Nature of Prejudice”. We’ll check it out.

    White Ghost: Yes, the media feeds so many misperceptions and stereotypes that definitely don’t help resolve anything related to racism.

  15. ASC October 17, 2007

    Rosa Lee: Thanks for the nice words. We really like how you said “we must first know our place before making a place for others”. It’s something for all of us to think about.

    Aidan: Definitely, anyone, no matter what color, should fight against racism. Maybe each person has a different idea about how to do this. It’s great to see several vloggers/bloggers discussing the issue. We look forward to more dialogue.

    Sallie Mae: We hope so, too!

  16. Gally82 October 17, 2007

    I think the whole point that ASC was trying to make and that some folks missed is the issue of a non-person of color (Aiden)calling on people of color to share their experiences with racism. Before one can gain access to such trust, one must first examine their own understanding of white privilege. Without understanding white privilege there is no hope of understanding racism. Why do you think we hear so often of someone playing the race card?

  17. gary October 19, 2007

    Personally, I disagree. I think black folks love to
    cry, “RACISM,” no matter whether it’s true or not.
    I think y’all just want everybody to think we HAVE to
    give you everything you want.

  18. Deaf Socrate's Trail October 21, 2007

    May I add one comment> Many of people in our Deaf Community believe in diversity! I do not believe Why? Okay referring to reality, The diversity movement is not imparting knowledge to people, but promoting racism. Multicultralism and diversity is a belief derived from MORAL RELATIVISM. That is what happen to many of us today!
    Multiculturalism accepts slavery and freedom as equals. It accepts murder and theft as the equivalent of peace and prosperity. If a country is starving due to its policy of government intervention in the economcy, multiculturism doesn’t care. It assumes the people under the system must have picked it, and therefore they are happy with it. Since value is sujbective, no country is better than any other!!! That is what Freedom allow us to do anything but REMEMBER, we must take our responsibility to control racism!

  19. anomynous February 27, 2009

    Hi, I love your article and it helps give a wake up call for the people with white privilege. However, the Deaf people of color are oppressed by not only white Deaf people but white people in general. The Deaf people of color are going to work, be in school, or some other place with hearing white people, not just Deaf white people alone. So we all have to be aware of how those people (deaf or hearing) treat us with their white privileges.


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